Today in poetic justice: A former member of the Obama administration, backed by a largely female group of silent partners, has offered to buy The Weinstein Co. for $275 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The catch? The investor in question, Maria Contreras-Sweet, wants to change the company’s name and install a majority-female board of which she would be the chairwoman. (The current board is all male.) She also wants to set up a fund for victims of ousted former co-founder Harvey Weinstein and a mediation process to arrange settlements.
In her offer letter—the first solid bid that’s been made for the floundering company, according to The Wall Street Journal—Contreras-Sweet writes, “reorganizing the company as a woman-led venture will be an inspiration to the industry, and a new model for how an entertainment company can be both financially successful and treat all its employees with dignity and respect.” At the moment, The Weinstein Co. is far from financially successful; it’s reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy, and is desperately trying to unload upcoming films, including Paddington 2, in pursuit of quick cash. To add an extra pinch of delicious schadenfreude to the situation, the $275 million quoted by THR is reportedly a substantial drop from previous offers.
As well as the aforementioned silent partners, Contreras-Sweet is backed by finance attorney Mickey Mayerson and celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who is currently representing an anonymous actress in a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Co. itself. It’s not clear what would happen to that lawsuit should the TWC board accept Contreras-Sweet’s offer, but Contreras-Sweet has said she’d assume the company’s legal liabilities if she took over. She also plans to keep the company running with most, if not all, of its 157 current employees, unlike other potential investors who say they plan to shutter operations and basically make passive income off of licensing out TWC’s back catalog.
A former bank executive before joining the Obama administration, Contreras-Sweet doesn’t have any experience in the entertainment industry. But then again, WWE’s Linda McMahon is currently performing Contreras-Sweet’s old job as head of the Small Business Administration without any previous government experience, so, you know.